SEATTLE – Every streak has to come to an end, but the Seattle Sounders weren’t quite ready to see so many end like this.
Playing their fifth match in 15 days and riding a six-match unbeaten streak, the Sounders fell 1-0 to Real Salt Lake on Saturday in a match between two of the top teams in MLS. RSL had entered as the overall points leader, while the Sounders owned the best points-per-game mark.
HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle 0, Real Salt Lake 1
“Sometimes that happens where you’re on top and really can’t let off the gas,” Sounders rookie midfielder Andy Rose, who was given his third consecutive start, told MLSsoccer.com after the match.
“They’re a quality side and that’s what happens, they get a half chance and it’s in the back of the net. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.”
In addition to the unbeaten stretch, the Sounders came into the match carrying some other impressive streaks. As it was, they saw their run of 590 minutes without trailing come to an end and their 321-minute shutout streak come to a crashing halt, which also ended a run of 799 minutes without allowing a goal from the run of play.
They were trying to extend those streaks by using their 10th different starting lineup in as many games.
“Five games in  days is a little bit of a haul, but at the end, it's not an excuse,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said in the postgame press conference. “We had enough chances in the first half that we needed to get a goal. I think a tie would have been a fair result tonight, probably, because they maybe had a little bit more in terms of possession in the second half. Overall, I can't fault our guys for what they've done over the last five games."
The Sounders also missed out on a chance to become just the third team in MLS history to win five games in 15 days. They would have joined the 1997 LA Galaxy and the 2001 Miami Fusion as the only teams to accomplish that feat.
Instead, they’ll simply have to regroup and prepare for another busy stretch that will see them play three times in eight days starting with next weekend’s Cascadia Cup match against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“It’s a long season with a lot more games to play,” said Sounders goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, who had his own 275-minute shutout streak snapped. “We just throw the game behind us and get back to work on Monday.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.